Arnold Geulincx was a Flemish Cartesian philosopher who was one of the proponents of occasionalism.
Originally a Roman Catholic, Geulincx adopted Calvinism in 1658. He taught at Leuven and later at Leiden. His major works, “Ethica” and “Metaphysica Vera”, were published posthumously.
Arnold Geulincx is best known for his work as an ethicist.
His philosophy is characterized by a curious blending of rationalism and mysticism.
As a devoted Cartesian, Geulincx sought to resolve the dualist’s problem of mind-body interaction by appealing to divine intervention as the genuine source of all causation, presaging the occasionalism of Nicolas Malebranche. The coincidence of mental thoughts with bodily motions, he argued, is like the conformity between unconnected but synchronized clocks.
According to Geulincx, body and mind cannot affect each other. A person’s intention to move his body is merely the occasion on which God, the only real cause, produces the movement. Since minds cannot affect bodies, people cannot control their actions; they can only control their wills. Accordingly, Geulincx’s ethics stresses a humbling of the will.
Major Works of Arnold Geulincx
– Miscellaneous Questions (1653)
– Restored Logic (1662)
– On Virtue (1665)
– Know Thyself (1675)
– True Metaphysics (1691)
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